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Mark R. Warner, Governor of Virginia

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Accountability and Efficiency Reviews

As part of his Education for a Lifetime Initiative, Governor Warner launched a series of comprehensive school efficiency reviews to ensure that Virginia's education dollars are spent wisely and effectively.

The pilot program has been so successful that recent legislation makes these reviews a permanent, funded part of the public school system.

School efficiency reviews consist of two components: 1) deploying auditors and management specialists from the state's Department of Planning and Budget (DPB) to conduct intensive reviews of individual school systems, helping them realize greater efficiencies and identifying good practices that can be shared with other school divisions; and 2) conducting a statewide performance review to give parents, policymakers, and all taxpayers a clear picture of how their schools are performing.

Individual School System Reviews

The individual school system reviews under Education for a Lifetime are modeled after successful programs in Texas and Arizona, where they have led to savings of as much as $750 million.

The goal of the reviews is to identify savings that can be gained through best practices in organization, service delivery, human resources, facilities, finance, transportation, technology management and other non-instructional expenditures -- thereby allowing divisions to put administrative savings back into the classroom for an even greater investment in our children.

The emphasis of the reviews is to identify and generate savings through administrative and management best practices. This is not a review of classroom instruction or student achievement.

Potential Savings Realized

Governor Warner's i nitiative began with pilot reviews in three volunteer school divisions - New Kent and Roanoke Counties and the City of Richmond. These divisions combined found cost savings of nearly $3 million.

For example, the Richmond City Public Shools Division identified over $2 million in potential savings in areas such as energy efficiency and bus personnel overtime, while others cited leveraged purchasing of goods and services and consolidation of support staff as ways to reduce costs.

Since the initial pilot, an additional 6 school systems have conducted reviews, for a total net savings of $6.8 million. These include the public school systems in Campbell County, Williamsburg-James City County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Surry County, and the City of Portsmouth.

Final Efficiency Review reports are made available to the public as they are released.  You may access all completed reports on the Department of Education Web site.

Pilot Goes Permanent

Two benefits that have emerged from these reviews have been 1) a stronger understanding within pilot communities of how their schools spend tax dollars, and as a result, 2) a greater trust in what is being done with these monies.

While opportunities for savings were found for each division, recommendations for additional investments have also been included.  Best practices have been highlighted as well. 

Based on the success of these pilot programs, Governor Warner proposed legislation to the 2005 General Assembly providing for regular efficiency reviews.  HB 1967 -- which received near-unanimous support in both houses and was signed into law in March 2005 -- provides that DPB manage efficiency reviews on an ongoing basis. A total of $1,182,000 is appropriated for the program for the 2005-2006 school year.

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Governor of Virginia - Mark R. Warner


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